BC bats don’t spread COVID-19 says Kootenay Bat Project

BC bats don’t spread COVID-19 says Kootenay Bat Project

Misinformation can lead to problems for bats, project says

The Kootenay Community Bat Project is concerned that the COVID-19 pandemic is shining a negative spotlight on bats in BC, and it could lead to unfounded fear and persecution of bats.

The Bat Project put out a press release this week emphasizing that bats in B.C. do not have, nor do they spread the SRS-Cov-2 virus responsible for COVID-19.

In reality, bats are an essential part of our ecology, the press release says, consuming many insect pests each night. Bats in BC suffer from many threats, and almost half of our 15 BC bat species are ‘at-risk’. One of the more familiar species, the Little Brown Myotis, is now Endangered in Canada.

A simple way to support bats is to participate in the BC Annual Bat Count this summer. The BC Community Bat Program is requesting colony reports and volunteer assistance for this citizen-science initiative that encourages residents to count bats at local roost sites.

Bat counts are easy, fun, and safe, not to mention vital for monitoring bat populations. “The counts are a wonderful way for people to get outside, respect social distancing guidelines, and be involved in collecting important scientific information” says Leigh Anne Isaac, Coordinating Biologist of the Kootenay Community Bat Program.

Volunteers wait outside a known roost site, such as a bat-box, barn, or attic, and count bats as they fly out at twilight. Ideally, 1 – 2 counts are done between June 1 and 21 before pups are born, and 1 – 2 more between July 11 and August 5 when pups are flying. Our target is to complete four counts during these two periods.

In 2019, the Annual Bat Count collected baseline data on bat populations at 337 sites across the province, and hopes to monitor these sites and more for 2020. The count data helps bat biologists understand where bats occur and how the size of colonies naturally vary before our bats face impacts from a devastating bat disease called White-nose Syndrome.

White-nose syndrome is an introduced fungal disease, fatal for bats but not for other animals or humans. Not yet identified in BC, the disease continues to spread in Washington State, less than 200 km from our border. Results from the Bat Count may help prioritize areas in BC for research into treatment options and recovery actions.

“We know relatively little about bats in BC, including basic information on population numbers” continues Isaac. “This information is more valuable than ever, particularly if it is collected annually. If people want to get involved but don’t have a roost site on their property, we will try to match them with a roost site nearby.”

Funded by the Columbia Basin Trust, Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, the Forest Enhancement Society of BC, the Habitat Stewardship Program, and with support of the BC Conservation Foundation and the Province of BC, the Kootenay Community Bat Project provides information for people dealing with bat issues on their property or who have questions about how to attract bats.

To find out more about bat counts, white-nose syndrome, to report a dead bat, or to get assistance dealing with bat issues, visit www.bcbats.ca, call 1-855-9BC-BATS ext. 14, or email kootenay@bcbats.ca.

More factual information about bats, the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and COVID-19 is available at:

• BC Community Bat Program: www.bcbats.ca https://bcbats.ca/index.php/get-involved/community-bat-program-news-updates/91-information-bulletin-on-bats-in-bc-covid-19-and-wns and

• Bat Conservation International http://www.batcon.org/resources/media-education/news-room/gen-news/80-latest-news/1227-bci-s-faq-on-bats-and-covid-19

RELATED: It’s bat week

RELATED: Kootenay Community Bat Project needs your help



carolyn.grant@kimberleybulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Kimberley residents were treated to the first Farmers' Market of the season, and the feeling of a return to normalcy. Paul Rodgers photos.
WATCH: Kimberley’s first Farmers’ Market of the season

Kimberley residents enjoyed the first Farmers’ Market of the year on Thursday,… Continue reading

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

Students at Creston Valley Secondary School put together an art installation of a replica residential school room. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Creston students create art installation of residential school room

The replica was decorated with a small bed, school uniform, and notes written with pleas for help

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Most Read